Soul Surfer portrays the comeback spirit and faith of shark attack survivor and champion surfer Bethany Hamilton
review by Megan Kristy of Alacrity for Christ
What happens when you have a dream you wish to achieve but suddenly you are majorly
handicapped and it seems almost impossible to achieve that dream? Some people would give up and try
to go on with life. Others would never get over the disappointment and live with sadness. But not Bethany
Hamilton. After losing her arm to a 14-foot tiger shark, the 13-year-old’s dream of being a professional
surfer seems like it will never come to reality. Her future seems to disappear with her arm, and learning to
surf again seems impossible for Bethany, but all things are possible with God.
The actual shark attack is shown very quickly, but it is very frightening for little kids. After the
attack, Bethany’s friends rush to get her to the hospital in a very intense scene. Blood clouds the water, and
soaks through the shirt wrapped around the stump of Bethany’s arm.
Bethany’s best friend, Alana, has nightmares about the shark attack which is also very scary.
The movie is largely set on the beach, thus there is an abundance of girls wearing bikinis and guys
sauntering around with no shirts. Bethany’s bare back is shown once after the accident as she tries to tie her
bathing suit with one arm. In one scene Alana, poses for pictures in a bikini and then changes in front of
Bethany with only towels obstructing Bethany and the audience’s view. A picture of an armless nude statue
is briefly shown. There is some flirting among teens.
Bethany and Alana sneak out of the house to go night surfing and are given a good talking to the
legged person dance, and now I’ve seen a one-armed girl surf. For some people, it’s determination that
makes them do what they do; for Bethany is was both determination and God. Though at first she questions
why God allowed the attack happened to her, her youth leader says “I have to believe that something
good will come out of this.” And Bethany finds out what that good is at the end of the movie once her
perspective is shifted a little.
The suspense and shark attack scene makes this movie a little too scary for younger children, but
for any one else, please do not miss out on this incredible true story of faith, determination, and triumph
through painful circumstances! With a clear Christian message, this movie is sure to bless you.
To sum it up, Soul Surfer is about a girl who loses an arm, but gains a whole new perspective on
Notes from Alisa Harris of World Magazine:
NEW YORK—Rich Peluso, vice president of Affirm Films, a Sony Pictures label that releases Christian films, was getting a cup of coffee when he noticed on the wall of the local coffee shop a poster of Bethany Hamilton, a girl who lost her arm in a shark attack but went on to become a professional surfer. Then a friend told Peluso he'd heard Affirm Films was going to make a movie about Hamilton's story. It wasn't true, but Peluso immediately inquired and found that the script was languishing at his office. No one else was interested, but Peluso dug out the box of scripts, called his boss and said, "We have got to make this movie."
Soul Surfer proves that a film with unabashed Christian elements can attract big-name talent like Carrie Underwood, Dennis Quaid, and Helen Hunt while winning at the box office. Although it was originally going to appear at just a few hundred theaters, on its opening weekend in April Soul Surfer earned $11.1 million and the highest per-theater average of any new wide release. The project "lived and died" more than once, Peluso said, but like Hamilton herself, the film bounced back.
From Megan Kristy with